Beauty products at Carson warehouse contributed to Dominguez Channel odor, watchdog agency says – Daily Breeze

Southern California’s air pollution watchdog agency has issued violation notices to Los Angeles County and four companies following a probe into a noxious smell coming from decaying organic material in the Dominguez Channel.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District announced the violations, which could result in fines, on Friday morning, Dec. 3, about two months after thousands of residents from Carson, West Carson, and portions of Gardena, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Wilmington and Long Beach began reporting the rancid odor.

That smell, often described as rotting egg, has also resulted in complaints of headaches, burning eyes, nausea and other discomfort.

In September, two companies — Virgin Scent Inc., doing business as ArtNaturals and Day to Day Imports — stored large quantities of wellness/beauty products at a warehouse,16325 S. Avalon Blvd., in Carson. The warehouse is owned by Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and its parent company, Prologis Inc., according to SCAQMD.

Representatives for ArtNaturals and Day to Day Imports did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But a representative for Prologis Inc., told the Daily Breeze that the company is working with the LA County Fire Department and the SCAQMD to address any concerns relating to the violations.

“The Notice of Violations were issued not only to the operator at the site, but to everyone connected to the property, including the County of Los Angeles,” wrote Jennifer Nelson, vice president of Global Communications for Prologis. “We have been and will continue to work with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in safeguarding the property against storm water runoff and cleaning up the fire debris.”

On Sept. 30, a large fire started on the warehouse property and efforts to extinguish it continued over several days.

As a result, the air quality agency said in its announcement, chemicals contained in the stored products, including ethanol, passed through the sewer system into the local flood control waterway, the Dominguez Channel. This was followed by the anaerobic decay of organic materials in the channel, which caused elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide to be discharged into the air.

Days later, the air quality district began receiving odor complaints from residents of the Carson area, soon reaching 100 complaints in a single day. Los Angeles County and Carson officials also received complaints.

Inspectors traced the smell to the Dominguez Channel, which is under county jurisdiction. That’s why the county received a notice of violation as well.

“The County of Los Angeles is responsible for maintaining Dominguez Channel,” SCAQMD spokesperson Nahal Mogharabi said, “which includes sediment and debris removal.”

Los Angeles County officials couldn’t immediately be reached Friday.

Since Oct. 3, inspectors have responded to more than 4,600 odor complaints from residents in Carson, as well as Gardena, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Wilmington and other parts of L.A. county, the agency said.

It got so bad that early last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency and the Department of Public Health conducted door-to-door outreach to nearly 9,000 Carson residents.

The county’s Public Works Department, meanwhile, has coordinated with multiple experts and worked to eliminate the stench, while also providing or reimbursing residents for air filters, air purifiers and temporary relocation.

That department, which oversees around 483 miles of open channel and has taken responsibility for the odor, has been treated the water in the Dominguez Channel with a non-toxic and biodegradable odor neutralizer called Epoleon. The levels of hydrogen sulfide has waned since the odor first became apparent.

The department, on Thursday, tweeted that its efforts have worked.

“Water quality solutions by #LACounty have successfully mitigated the hydrogen sulfide gas odors in #DominguezChannel,” Public Works wrote on Twitter, “and enabled thousands of relocated residents to return home safely.”

Public Works has spent $54 million, from early October to last week, to eliminate the odor. And that number could hit $143 million if the odor isn’t entirely gone by March, according to Public Works Director Mark Pestrella.

Pestrella has also confirmed in the past that his department is investigating the cause of the odor, but has declined to offer details.

SCAQMD violation notices can result in civil penalties. In some cases, the company or entity can choose to implement voluntary measures to reduce emissions or otherwise prevent further violations. If no settlement is reached, a civil lawsuit may ultimately be filed in Superior Court, according to the SCAQMD.

“The AQMD notices do not include any corrective actions for Prologis to take,” Nelson said. “Similar to our partnership with the L.A. County Fire Department, we will proactively work with the District to address any concerns.”

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Beauty products at Carson warehouse contributed to Dominguez Channel odor, watchdog agency says

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